Is Rogue Spirits Oregon Single Malt Whiskey a Game Changer? - The Whiskey Wash

Is Rogue Spirits Oregon Single Malt Whiskey a Game Changer?

By Nino Marchetti / April 14, 2016

Rogue Spirits Oregon Single Malt WhiskeyEditor’s Note: We’ve just launched sign ups for our upcoming The Whiskey Wash newsletterClick here to join our list and stay informed!

So, here’s the deal – Rogue Spirits, the distillery portion of Rogue Ales, is based here in Oregon just like we are. I’ve always secretly rooted for good Oregon whiskey, since it’s in our own backyard and all, but so far Rogue has tended not to meet our expectations of quality (i.e. their Chipotle Whiskey currently holds our lowest-ever review score). I have guarded optimism, however, for their latest whiskey just announced, a two-year-old Oregon Single Malt Whiskey.

Rogue Spirits Oregon Single Malt Whiskey is not necessarily a new release for the distillery, just likely a much-improved leap forward from what previously came out under this moniker. To date they’ve had a young rye, a younger version of the single malt, and their Dead Guy whiskey, all aged in their ocean breeze-influenced warehouse on Oregon’s coast. We had the chance to tour the facility last year, and were generally impressed with the barrel work they were doing there, particularly around use of Oregon oak crafted in their own cooperage.

This newly released single malt is not a product of that Oregon oak, but if it ends up being good-tasting in the end, that’s fine. What we do know is that it is a straight whiskey made using Rogue-grown malt which was floor malted by hand at Rogue’s in-state barley farm. It was created from a wash made by legendary Rogue brewmaster John Maier before being put into American oak for two years in their “ocean aging” barrel room.

“The real magic takes place in the Ocean Aging Room where Oregon Single Malt Whiskey slowly ages,” said Rogue Ales President Brett Joyce, in a statement. “The whiskey breathes in the rich, coastal air of the Pacific Ocean which impart unique flavors along with the oak barrels, and produces a whiskey worth the wait.”

Rogue has yet to provide pricing information on its Oregon Single Malt Whiskey, but there are some official tasting notes available which we’ve presented below. I’ve reached out to them to see about getting a review sample, but if that fails I will likely go out to buy a bottle for one of our reviewers to try – may it be the game changer for the Rogue whiskey program.

  • Appearance – A deep, burnished, copper color.
  • Aroma – A delicate aroma of honey on the nose gives way to tones of dried fruit, oak, hay, and hints of smoke.
  • Taste – Begins with a sweet malted barley, honey and butterscotch flavor, with a bit of citrus and ripe fruit, finishing with a balanced smoked oak undertone.
  • Mouth feel – Medium light mouthfeel, slightly dry tannic finish.